This week, we bring you all the holiday recipes you need to pull together a quick, easy, and delicious festive meal that everyone can enjoy!

The holidays- a perfect time to get together with close friends and family- and a great excuse to eat your heart out! Between the decorating, gift shopping, wrapping, and caroling, planning and executing a hearty and delicious festive meal can be daunting. That’s why we would like to tick one more thing off your list by bringing you our top ten tried and tested holiday recipes that are quick, easy, and crowd-pleasing. So get out your notebook and start your grocery shopping list, because these will not disappoint. Whether you’re a brave host or are contributing to a potluck this holiday season, these recipes will save you time and have your loved ones applauding your newly-acquired chef’s skills!

The Appetizer

Shape-Shifting Charcuterie

Any way you slice (or dice) it, a charcuterie board is the easiest and most crowd-pleasing appetizer you can conjure up. No cooking involved- the magic is in the arrangement. Why not spruce it up this holiday season with a fruit and cheese tray arranged like a Christmas tree? Or how about a charcutewreath?- veggies festively arranged on a circular tray garnished with greenery, and a delicious dipping sauce in the center! Get creative with the types of meats, cheeses, fruits, and veggies you’d like on your tray- then let your imagination run wild! When serving, ditch the plates and opt for some chic and festive cocktail napkins instead.

Christmas Caprese Salad

An easy to make salad in the shape of a candy cane? Say no more. This simple and delicious salad consists of bocconcini cheese (mozzarella is great too), tomatoes, and fresh basil arranged in the shape of an adorable candy cane. Try it for yourself- you won’t believe how easy it is to impress your guests with this fresh, flavourful salad!

INGREDIENTS

  • Vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • Bocconcini (larger balls, not baby size) or fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Himalayan or sea salt + freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. On a large platter, arrange alternate slices of tomato, bocconcini and fresh basil to form the shape of a candy cane. Overlap each of these ingredients to form the different coloured stripes of a candy cane.  Note: See pictures in the post for a visual.
  2. Before serving, drizzle over some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze.  Sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste.

 

Recipe by: Maple + Mango

The Drink

Mulled Wine is Oh So Fine

Mulled wine has been the cornerstone of every holiday celebration for hundreds of years. Warm aromatic spices combined with the sweet richness of red wine is an irresistible combination. Check out an easy and delicious recipe below:

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups of dark red wine
  • 6 cups of apple cider or apple juice
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 2 oranges sliced (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 apples sliced (plus more for garnish)
  • 4 large fresh cinnamon sticks (plus more to garnish)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of whole allspice
  • ½ cup of Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
  • 4 star anise

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • large pot
  • ladle
  • Clear glasses

INSTRUCTIONS

This mulled wine recipe makes a large pot full of spiced wine, enough for a large family. It may be left on the stove over low heat or transferred to a crockpot or slow cooker to keep warm for hours.

  1. Leave the rinds on the orange and the peels on the apple, wash the fruits, and cut them into thin slices.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a large pot. Stir briefly to combine.
  3. Heat over low heat. Allow it to simmer for at least 30 minutes to 3 hours, but not to boil. Avoid letting it bubble as you don’t want to boil off the alcohol. 
  4. After it comes to a simmer, put the heat on the lowest setting to keep warm.
  5. Use a fine mesh strainer to stain, and after, remove and discard the orange and apple slices, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and allspice. Optional: add fruit slices, 1 star anise, and 1 cinnamon stick in the glass.
  6. Ladle the mulled wine into clear glass mugs.
  7. Serve warm and garnish with more orange and apples slices and cinnamon sticks.

 

Recipe by: Ottawa Mommy Club

The Main(s)

Fancy a Christmas Roast?

After Thanksgiving festivities, many are likely still nursing a turkey hangover. For Christmas, why not switch it up and opt for a classic roast instead? Easy to make, hearty, and a delicious complement to all of your sides.

INGREDIENTS

  • A bone-in prime rib roast
  • 3 medium onions (thickly sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse sea salt per pound of roast
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper per pound
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic per pound
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary per pound
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme per pound
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil per pound

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. The butcher knows how much fat to leave on the roast, so no additional trimming is needed. Your prime rib roast should have a nice layer of fat on top, so it will baste itself. Before marinating, give your prime rib roast a quick rinse with cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Place a flat roasting rack inside a roasting pan large enough to fit your roast, and spread the onions on top of the rack. It’s ok if you don’t have a roasting rack–resting the roast directly on the onions works also. Place the roast in the pan.
  3. Mix the salt, pepper, garlic, herbs and olive oil in a bowl until well-combined. Use your hands to rub the roast all over with the marinade mixture, coating the surface evenly.
  4. Use plastic wrap to cover the roast, and let it marinate overnight (at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator. Don’t expect the flavors to penetrate the roast completely, but it will work its way into the fatty collar portion of the roast. Skipping this step makes a big difference in flavor––there have been some mediocre roasts due to a lack of marinating time, so take our word for it!
  5. Take the roast out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cooking time to allow the roast to come up to room temperature. It’s best to take it out in the morning and leave it out for 6 to 8 hours; especially if you have a bone-in roast. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, and place your roast on a lower oven rack. For bone -in roasts, you may want to put the roast at the bottom of the oven for the first hour. Placing the oven rack too high up will cause your roast to brown too quickly and burn!
  6. After 30 minutes in the oven, add a ½ cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. The key is to allow the onions to brown and caramelize while roasting, but not to burn and smoke in the fat.
  7. Cook the roast for another 30 minutes, until it begins to brown. If your oven heats unevenly, turn your roast 180 degrees. If there is more fat on one side that has not browned yet, make sure you position that side of the prime rib roast toward the inside of the oven. Use your own judgement on this one!
  8. Once the prime rib roast is browned on the outside (1 hour total should do it, but times may vary depending on your oven), lower the heat to 350 degrees F. Continue roasting the prime rib for another 90 to 120 minutes. Baste the roast every 30 minutes if desired, and add hot water ½ cup at a time if the roasting pan does dry up.
  9. If the top of the roast starts to char, put a small piece of foil to lightly cover the top, leaving the sides exposed. Again, turn the roast 180 degrees if needed for even roasting.
  10. A general rule, roasting time is a total of 15 minutes per pound, so for this 12 pound roast, the total roasting time should be 180 minutes. With temperature changes, that means roasting at 450 degrees F for 60 minutes followed by 120 minutes at 350 degrees F. That said, these times are approximate–using a meat thermometer is a must. You don’t want to overcook it! Our recommendation is medium rare, so the time will be closer to 90 minutes, or when the prime rib roast reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. This gives you two more well-done Prime Rib end cuts and a couple of medium pieces mixed in with the medium rare cuts. If you like it rare, then roast for less time, taking the roast out of the oven when the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F. If your like it super-rare, then 115 degrees F may be for you. Just remember that the meat thermometer is your guide and that the roast will continue to cook a bit while it rests on the kitchen counter!
  11. When ready, set your prime rib on a cutting board or serving platter, and lightly cover it with a piece of aluminum foil to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  12. While the prime rib is resting, pour the pan juices through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator. If there is not enough liquid, add a ½ cup of water to the hot pan, and stir lightly. Pour the juices from the fat separator into a small pot or saute pan and set aside. Warm up the au jus, and serve alongside the prime rib. You can further dilute it with some hot water to taste if it’s too salty. If it suits your fancy, you can also serve some horseradish alongside.

 

Recipe by: The Woks of Life

The Engagement Roast Chicken

We bring you a simple yet timeless recipe that is so delicious, it has resulted in multiple proposals! We are not joking- ask renowned Food Network chef Ina Garten, who has received many letters over the years praising her roast chicken’s supernatural ability to bring people closer together. But don’t take our word for it- try it for yourself!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.
  3. Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.
  4. Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

 

Recipe by: Ina Garten- Food Network

The Perfect Sides

Sweet Potato Casserole

If you ask us, sweet potato casserole is an essential fixture to any holiday meal. A sweet and decadent dish that perfectly complements a roast, turkey, or roast veggies (plus, a great excuse to have dessert for dinner). We’ve featured our favorite recipe by Preppy Kitchen! Crunchy pecans, sweet cinnamon, toasted marshmallows, and buttery smooth sweet potatoes make this one a winner in our books.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup butter melted (can substitute for vegan butter to make it dairy-free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce with a knife or fork and bake for about 40 minutes or until tender.
  2. Allow sweet potatoes to cool slightly then cut the ends off, slice down the middle and remove skin.
  3. Transfer sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash with a potato ricer or large fork.
  4. Add the eggs, melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to the sweet potatoes then beat with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Fold in half the toasted pecans.
  5. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a baking dish and smooth out.
  6. Top with mini marshmallows and remaining chopped pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.

 

Recipe by: Preppy Kitchen

Festive Sheet Pan Veggies

Warm and hearty, this combination of Wintery root veggies is sure to hit the spot with your loved ones this holiday season! Add in a drizzle of honey and some rosemary for a burst of flavour. Plus, this is a one-pan dish, which means a less arduous clean-up.

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml good olive oil
  • 100ml honey
  • 20g sea salt
  • 20g fresh Thyme
  • 20g fresh Rosemary
  • 300g peeled and quartered carrots
  • 300g peeled and quartered parsnips
  • 300g banana shallots, sliced in half
  • 300g zucchini quartered
  • 300g baby new potatoes, sliced in half

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees C, or gas mark 7.
  2. Place all of the ingredients inside a large baking tray, which will be used to roast the vegetables.
  3. Mix everything really well, making sure that all of the vegetables are fully covered in the oil, honey and herbs.
  4. Place inside the pre-heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until all the vegetables are beautifully roasted.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve.

 

Recipe by: Leah Simpson, Popsugar

Green Beans Almondine

Green beans are the perfect holiday vegetable. Versatile and full of flavour, this classic side dish features toasted almonds, and buttery, lemony string beans. We guarantee an empty serving dish by the end of the evening- no leftovers here!

INGREDIENTS

  • French green beans (haricots verts) – one pound
  • Butter – you can also substitute for olive oil or vegan butter for a dairy-free alternative
  • Almond slices – find blanched almond slices in the baking aisle
  • Shallots
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Garlic
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – optional, but delicious (do not use the store-bought pre-squeezed stuff)
  • Salt and Pepper – to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Fill a large saucepan with water and add at least 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and add the French green beans. Blanch for 2-2.5 minutes (no longer, or you’ll have floppy beans!). While the beans are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl (use a full tray of ice cubes and enough water to submerge the beans). Once the beans are done cooking, drain immediately and add to the ice bath.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt, then add the almond slices. Brown the almonds for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to turn a dark golden colour. Then, add the shallots and red pepper flakes and sauté another 2 minutes. Finally, add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  3. Drain the beans from the ice bath and add to the skillet with the almonds, shallot and garlic. Add the lemon juice, if using. Toss the beans gently (I use silicone-tipped tongs) until they’re evenly coated and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

 

Recipe by: The Recipe Well

Don’t Desert Dessert!

Cranberry and Pistachio White Chocolate Bark

This festive, no-fuss dessert is the perfect way to cap off an epic holiday meal! Green pistachios combined with tart red cranberries gives this treat a beautifully festive appearance. Despite being full, your guests will not be able to resist this scrumptious and addictive dessert!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pound white chocolate
  • ½ Cup pistachios shelled
  • ½ Cup dried cranberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, let it cool for a few minutes.
  4. Add the pistachios and cranberries. Stir to combine.
  5. Spread the mixture onto the lined pan in an even layer. Depending on the size of the pan, you may not need the entire surface of the pan.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until set.
  7. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into pieces.

 

Recipe by: xoxoBella

Sugar Cookie Truffles

A delicious spin on the traditional Christmas sugar cookie. With only 4 ingredients, this truffle recipe is a perfect way to reuse those extra sugar cookies. You don’t even have to bake your own cookies- store-bought is fine for this recipe. If you’re looking for an easy way to wow your guests, then this is it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 sugar cookies
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 cups white chocolate candy melts
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. Place the sugar cookies in a food processor & pulse until you have fine crumbs.
  3. Add in cream cheese & process again until well-combined.
  4. Scoop 1 tbsp of dough mixture & roll between hands to form 1″ balls & then place on a prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place the rolled dough into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  6. While the dough is chilling you can melt the chocolate by placing it in a microwave-safe bowl & heating it in the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds.
  7. Stir & microwave again for 20 seconds at 50% power level.
  8. Continue until the chocolate is smooth.
  9. Remove the chilled dough from the freezer.
  10. Use 2 forks to dip the chilled dough balls into the melted chocolate, turning to coat. Tap off any excess chocolate before returning the truffle to the baking sheet.
  11. Immediately top with desired sprinkles.
  12. Repeat the process until you have coated all of the chilled dough balls.

Recipe by: Kleinworth & Co.

So there you have it, folks- your holiday recipes meal plan. From appetizers and drinks all the way through to entrees and dessert. Remember to eat, drink, and be merry this holiday season!